The Jerusalem Magistrates' Court on Wednesday ruled that senior Hamas figure Muhammad Abu Tir is prohibited from entering Israeli territory and ordered that he be transferred to the Palestinian Authority.
The court determined that Abu Tir, who was originally arrested as part of a wave of arrests made by Israel following the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, would be sent to four months in prison should he return to Israel.
Abu Tir was arrested again in June and accused of residing in Israel illegally for rejecting a Shin Bet demand to leave his hometown of Jerusalem. He refused to deposit a third-party bail of NIS 350,000 (about $96,000) and has remained in custody since.
Judge Rachel Shalev Gertel handed Abu Tir a four-month suspended sentence in case he returns to Israel. He was transferred to the PA shortly after the court hearing.
By issuing its ruling the court adopted a plea bargain between the prosecution and Abu Tir's attorney, Osama Saadi. In accordance with the agreement, Abu Tir admitted to entering Israel illegally without withdrawing a petition he had filed with the High Court of Justice against Interior Minister Eli Yishai's decision to annul the his residency rights. .
Abu Tir's lawyer said he believed the High Court would reverse Yishai's decision.
A Palestinian parliament member from Hamas called Wednesday's ruling "an attempt to silence the free Jerusalem voice which resists the occupation." According to Khaled Abu Arfa, the ruling "coincides with Israel's efforts to take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque and continue to cross the Palestinian red lines in Jerusalem."
Ali Waked contributed to the report
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